From: Petawawa, Ontario, Canada. LA Opera: Orpheus in Eurydice (2020, debut); Figaro in The Barber of Seville (2023).
Known as one of the finest singer-actors of his generation, JUNO Award-winning and Grammy-nominated Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins has been hailed by Opera Today as having “a glistening, malleable baritone of exceptional beauty, and the technique to exploit its full range of expressive possibilities from comic bluster to melting beauty.”
Having established himself as a prominent leading artist throughout the United States and Canada, Joshua appears regularly at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Washington National Opera among many others, and has performed under the baton of renowned conductors such as Sir Andrew Davis, Alan Gilbert, Matthew Halls, James Gaffigan, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Hans Graf.
In his 2022/23 season, highlights included Joshua’s debut at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center, Japan, in the title role of Don Giovanni, as well as a return to the Metropolitan Opera to sing Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore and to reprise the role of Papageno in The Magic Flute in Julie Taymor’s renowned production. He also returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago to make his role debut as Raimbaud in Bartlett Sher's production of Le Comte Ory, conducted by Enrique Mazzola.
On the concert platform, he performed Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra under Peter Oundjian, joined the Met Orchestra Chamber Ensemble for an all-French program at Carnegie Hall, and performed Peter Lieberson’s Songs of Love and Sorrow with the Monterey Symphony.
His most personal work, Songs for Murdered Sisters, is a song cycle by composer Jake Heggie and author Margaret Atwood, conceived by Hopkins in remembrance of his sister, Nathalie Warmerdam. Following the critically acclaimed film and JUNO-nominated album releases, the chamber version of Songs for Murdered Sisters received its live world premiere at Houston’s Rothko Chapel in March 2022, in partnership with Houston Grand Opera. Joshua gave the live world premiere of the work's orchestral version alongside Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra under the baton of Alexander Shelley in Ottawa, Toronto and Kingston.
Joshua’s latest role debuts have included Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore at Lyric Opera of Chicago, the title role of Billy Budd with Central City Opera, Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Pittsburgh Opera, and Athanaël in a concert version of Massenet’s Thaïs with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and recorded for Chandos Records. Past seasons have featured the roles Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro at the Glyndebourne Festival, Verbier Festival, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera and Washington National Opera; Figaro in The Barber of Seville in house debuts at Opéra de Rouen and Den Norske Opera in Oslo, as well as the Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa, and the Glimmerglass Festival in a new production by Francesca Zambello; Guglielmo in Così fan tutte in his company debut at Oper Frankfurt and at Lyric Opera of Chicago; Silvio in Pagliacci at Palm Beach Opera, directed by James Robinson; Papageno in The Magic Flute at the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Washington National Opera, Vancouver Opera, as well as Marcello in La Bohème at the Canadian Opera Company and Houston Grand Opera.
Joshua has developed a reputation for his work in contemporary operas by celebrated American composers, creating leading roles for the world premieres of new works both in the U.S. and Europe. Recent original roles have included Niccolò Machiavelli in the premiere of Mohammed Fairouz and David Ignatius’s The New Prince in his company debut at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam; Harry Bailey in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s It’s a Wonderful Life at Houston Grand Opera and in his debut at San Francisco Opera; and creating the role of Orpheus in the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin and Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice at LA Opera, which he also performed at the Metropolitan Opera in 2021 including a worldwide simulcast as part of the Met’s Live in HD series.
Joshua made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Ping in Turandot in the 2009/10 season, conducted by Andris Nelsons. His notable past engagements have also included Cecil in Sir David McVicar’s new production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda conducted by Maurizio Benini for the Metropolitan Opera, his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Tadeusz in The Passenger in David Pountney’s acclaimed production, and his role debut as the title character in Don Giovanni with Utah Opera. Further highlights include the role of Junior in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place with New York City Opera, Sid in Albert Herring at the Santa Fe Opera under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, Dr. Falke in a new production of Die Fledermaus at the Santa Fe Opera, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Valentin in Faust at Houston Grand Opera and Washington National Opera.
Past concert engagements have included his European concert debut with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Spain, performing Peter Lieberson’s Songs of Love and Sorrow, Bach’s Magnificat with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the baton of Robert Spano at Carnegie Hall, and both Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3 and Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Alan Gilbert. Joshua toured North America with Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy offering performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Messiah in Quebec, Montreal, Los Angeles, and at Carnegie Hall in New York. He has also performed and recorded Bach’s St. John Passion with Portland Baroque Orchestra and Arion Orchestre Baroque. Joshua has performed Handel’s Messiah with many symphonies across North America, including San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and National Symphony Orchestra. Additional highlights of his concert schedule include his debut with the Cleveland Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy in performances of Peer Gynt, Haydn’s Creation with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum with the San Francisco Symphony, The Magic Flute with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra led by Bernard Labadie, and Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem with Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony.
Profoundly committed to the art of song, Joshua’s first recital disc, Let Beauty Awake, features songs of Barber, Bowles, Glick, and Vaughan Williams on the ATMA Classique label. He has given recitals in Chicago, Montreal, New York, Santa Fe, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington, D.C. Highlights of his varied appearances at Carnegie Hall include the world premiere of Michael Tilson Thomas’s Rilke Songs and a concert highlighting Benjamin Britten alongside Ian Bostridge and Iestyn Davies. Joshua has collaborated with Julius Drake, Richard Goode, Marc-André Hamelin, Graham Johnson, and Warren Jones.
Joshua has won numerous awards and distinctions. Most recently, he won a JUNO Award for his portrayal of Athanaël in Chandos Record’s recording of Massenet’s Thaïs in concert with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. He was the winner of both the Verbier Festival Academy’s 2008 Prix d’Honneur and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2006. He was also a prizewinner at the prestigious 2006 ARD Musikwettbewerb in Munich and at the 2005 Operalia Competition held in Madrid. In 2002, José Carreras presented him with the first-place prize in the Julián Gayarre International Singing Competition in Pamplona. Joshua has also received prizes from the George London Foundation, the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation, and won the Sylva Gelber Foundation Award from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Learn more at JoshuaHopkins.com.
Photo: Simon Pauly